So what’s the latest news swirling around the proposed Lincroft Sports Complex? In each of this weeks editions of the Independent and the Two River Times are articles dedicated to the happens at the most recent Middletown Workshop Meeting that took place on March 1st. Both articles are well written and represents what took place pretty well.
The Independent focus was on the on going negotiations between the Board of Education and the Township over a shared service agreement that would allow the Pop Warner Football League to play games at Middletown High School South before getting into the meat and potatoes of the nights events, while the Two River Times jumped right into it.
Here are excerpts from each article:
The Independent – Talks between the Middletown Township Committee and the Board of Education will reopen to discuss allowing local sports associations to use fields at Middletown High School South.
A preliminary design plan for West Front Street Park was placed on the Middletown Township website for the public to review. The existing soccer fields would be replaced with a synthetic turf field.
Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger and Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore announced at the March 1 Township Committee meeting that they would be meeting with members of the board to discuss field usage on public school property.
“We sent a letter to the Board of Ed. today officially asking to allow the Pop Warner leagues to use High School South for their games,” Scharfenberger said. “I think that would go a long way to solve a lot of the problems and would be the best solution for all the parties involved.”
He added, “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
The township has proposed a plan for West Front Street Park, off Crawfords Corner/ Everett Road, to replace the existing soccer fields with a synthetic turf field designed for football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse to be used by the public and local sports associations.
The proposal also calls for the Croydon Hall Complex, located on Leonardville Road, to have its football field replaced with an artificial turf field. A total of $2.5 million in unspent recreation funds would be used for the two projects.
The letter reads, “Specifically, the Township would like to request that the River Plaza/Lincroft Pop Warner Football program be permitted to utilize the football field and associated facilities at High School South for their five to six annual home games that take place on Sundays. Practices and other activities would still be able to take place at their current field while the West Front Street filed is resurfaced with turf for use by other leagues, but the need to utilize lighting, a public address system and concessions is lessened.”
Laura Agin, Middletown Board of Education president, said negotiations are under way.
“We’ve worked with the Township Committee and with shared services,” Agin said on March 4. “We’ve had concessions with them about the fields, and I think we will continue to work with them.”
However, a group in the Jersey Shore Football League weighed in on the controversy at the March 1 meeting….
The Two River Times – Controversy continues to swirl around a proposed plan by the Middletown Township Committee to construct a multi-purpose athletic field at the intersection of West Front Street and Everett Road in Lincroft.
Residents from the potentially affected area once again came out en masse to voice their opposition to the proposal as it currently stands and urged the committee to reconsider constructing the field at a different location.
However, this round of rhetoric included supporters of the proposal primarily from active Pop Warner families, athletes, coaches, and members of the Middletown Athletic Club.
The most telling message sent to the committee might have come from Kevin O’Reilly, Vice President of the River Plaza Chargers, whose future home has been an ongoing topic of conversation among the committee members, the board of education, and area residents but has not, until Monday night, included the River Plaza Chargers organization.
Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger opened the meeting by allowing those in attendance to speak to this issue but not before he addressed the crowd with an update from the committee’s perspective.
“We sent a letter to the Board of Education today officially asking them to allow the Pop Warner league to use High School South for their games. I think that will go a long way to solving a lot of the problems and be the best solution for all parties involved,” Scharfenberger said.
Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore also offered an updated position on the issue.
“My position (at the previous meeting) was to find a way for River Plaza Pop Warner to play five or six games at High School South. From what I understand it’s not feasible to redo the facility at Trezza Field (the Chargers current home field). It’s my viewpoint, if we are able to work with the Board of Education and potentially make improvements to their field we would not have to have lights or a P.A. system at West Front Street,” Fiore said.
Fiore added that the idea would be that the Pop Warner teams practice at Trezza and play their games at High School South. Fiore also noted that the existing soccer fields at West Front Street would still be resurfaced and improved but without lighting and a public address system.
“I think that pretty much satisfies everything I’ve heard over the last month,” Fiore said.
Not according to O’Reilly.
The River Plaza Pop Warner league sent a letter to the Township Committee outlining eight needs of the league to continue operating regardless of its location. One of those needs was a fully functioning snack bar. Additionally as important were adequate restroom facilities.
According to O’Reilly, the Pop Warner league exists solely on the revenues generated by the operation of the snack bar of which High School South does not provide.
“I wish you people would speak to us because Middletown South doesn’t work,” O’Reilly said. “We play on Saturday, we play on Sunday, we play on Monday, and we also sometimes play on Wednesday and all of our revenue is from the snack bar.”
The money generated by the snack bar, which can range between four and seven thousand dollars each game day goes toward operational costs to run the league according to O’Reilly.
“To redo the helmets is thousands and thousands of dollars,” O’Reilly said….